Friday, October 14, 2005

BUSH'S FREEFALL IN THE POLLS continues. The new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released on Wednesday reveals that only 39 percent of Americans approve of the president's overall performance; a stunningly low 28 percent think the U.S. is headed in the right direction. Also, for the first time Americans have expressed a preference for a Democrat-controlled Congress, by a margin of 48 to 39 percent -- not because the Democrats are so great, but because the Republicans are so awful.

You name it, Americans are upset about it. Gasoline prices, Iraq, the nomination of Harriet Miers, the numerous allegations of criminal or ethical wrongdoing in the upper levels of the Bush administration were all cited by poll respondents as reasons for their disapproval.

African-Americans are especially upset with Bush's performance. Says Dan Froomkin:

In what may turn out to be one of the biggest free-falls in the history of presidential polling, President Bush's job-approval rating among African Americans has dropped to 2 percent, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

The drop among blacks drove Bush's overall job approval ratings to an all-time low of 39 percent in this poll. By comparison, 45 percent of whites and 36 percent of Hispanics approve of the job Bush is doing.

A few months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found Bush's approval rating among blacks at 51 percent. As recently as six months ago, it was at 19 percent.

But Bush's bungled response to Hurricane Katrina -- seen by many blacks as evidence that he didn't care about them (see my September 13 column ) -- may have brought support for the president in the African American community down to nearly negligible levels.

Tim Russert called attention to this startling statistic on the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams yesterday: "Brian, listen to this," he said. "Only 2 percent -- 2 percent! -- of African-Americans approve of George Bush's handling of the presidency -- the lowest we have ever seen in that particular measure."

So this morning, I called Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted the survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff, to get a better sense of the significance of the results.

"African Americans were not supporters, but I don't think that they outright detested him -- until now," Hart said. "The actions in and around Katrina persuaded African Americans that this was a president who was totally insensitive to their concerns and their needs."

Hart said he has never seen such a dramatic drop in presidential approval ratings, within any subgroup.

At least Bush is accomplished at something.


Joan, AKA Panam Woman said...

How will a democratically controlled congress change anything? The two parties are virtually identical.

Take Care

Kathy said...

I wasn't suggesting it would change anything. But it's significant that Bush is so unpopular now that the Republican stranglehold on Congress might be coming to an end.

It's significant in terms of Republican goals, if nothing else. The entire Republican agenda for the past five years has been to keep the Democrats from regaining power ever again. It seems the Republican revolution is not infallible.